Tiny self-propelling submarines could help clean up toxic waste

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Tube-shaped microrobots could be used to clean up polluted water

Stephanie Jackson – Photographso

Submarines are going microscopic. Tiny tubes about 10 micrometres long can propel themselves using only sunlight and can be steered by magnetic fields. These microrobots could be useful for cleaning up toxic waste.

Most swimming microrobots can only move in two dimensions – depending on their weight, they either sink to the bottom of a liquid or float close to the surface as they swim around. Martin Pumera at the University of Chemistry and Technology in the Czech Republic, and his colleagues built a microrobot that …

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